RANDOLPH, NJ- Welles Crowther, a 24 year old graduate of Boston College, was an equities trader working on the 104th floor of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. As a young boy, Crowther idolized his volunteer fireman father, visiting the firehouse as young as 7 and becoming a volunteer fireman himself by age 16 while growing up in Nyack NY.
His father had given him a red bandana when he was young, and it became his signature trademark of sorts as he grew up. Crowther wore a red bandana on his head for all the sports he played, and carried one in his pocket everywhere he went.
At the Randolph VFW Post 7333 ceremony honoring the victims 9-11, NJ Assemblyman Anthony Bucco told part of Crowthers story, describing his heroic actions on that day. ( Video About Crowthers at end of Story )
“One woman told an account of how a mysterious man with a red bandana over his face ( to protect from the smoke ) appeared on the 78th floor where she and many others were trapped and didn’t know what to do,” said Bucco. “He had a fire extinguisher and put out a small fire and then told them “Whoever is able to help another, help them, and follow me.
Bucco continued, “He led them down the stairwell to safety, but instead of continuing out with them, he turned around and went back inside with a NYC fireman and continued to help evacuate more people, making a few trips up and down the stairs. Crowthers body was found buried in the rubble during the recovery six months later, alongside a few NYC firemen. Those are the stories we need to remember.”
Randolph Mayor Christine Carey also spoke to the attendees of the service, who included township manager Stephen Mountain, and Councilmen Joanne Veech, Jim Loveys, and Mark Forstenhausler, as well as residents and VFW members.
“Today is a day for remembering all the souls who left this world on September 11, 2001, including the four men from Randolph who went to work that day and never came back,” said Carey. “But it is also a day to remember the compassion and the love that Americans showed to one another in the aftermath.”
NJ Senator Tony Bucco addressed the crowd as well, acknowledging the VFW for all they do for the community.
“I think everyone here remembers where they were on this day 16 years ago. I applaud the VFW Post Commander, and all of your members for hosting this ceremony today, to make sure we never forget September 11, 2001.”
Post Commander Scott Montanio was the final speaker.
“Heroic acts were displayed that day by firefighters, police, emergency personnel, and average American citizens alike,” said Montanio. “Moments of valor, courage, and selflessness reminded all of us, and the world, of the American values that have carried our nation for hundreds of years.”
After the Chaplains prayer, Emmerson Crooks sang “God Bless America” to close out the ceremony.